The Pendant

The metal door announced to the world its protest as Leslie emerged, and it wasn’t lost on Kash that his east coast visitor was smack dab in the middle of trouble. “Oh, shit!” Kash exclaimed as he saw Leslie stop to help the fallen man. He revved the engine of his ’47 Biscayne, threw it into gear and made a tight U-turn, bringing him in front of the alley. Reaching over he opened the door and yelled, “Get in, goddamn it.”

As she reached the street, the rain was pouring down in buckets and dripping off the brim of her hat, distorting her vision and her hearing. A pleading hand begged her to help. She knelt next to the young man as he frantically spoke Chinese. She didn’t understand. “English? Can you speak English?” she asked.

He placed a quivering fist to her chest and mumbled the same phrase in Chinese. After a moment, he opened his fist and let the pendant fall into her lap.

It was like nothing she had ever seen before. It was octagon in shape, with a silver background and black dashes around the edges and something circular in the middle. She gave a silent plea for him to give her more information as Bennett cursed and ordered her into the car.

“Eye…” the Chinese youth said.

“I, what?” she repeated.

Then he fell silent, and through the pouring rain Leslie could sense the Chinese man from below starting to find his way up from the underground.

“For God’s sake, Leslie, get in the car!” Kash ordered, as he helped her up and shoved her into the passenger’s seat. “Goddamn it! Why couldn’t you have gone window shopping?” he swore under his breath as he got in and slammed down the accelerator. The rear wheels spun and finally caught on the wet pavement, propelling them forward to safety. Or so he thought. He paid little attention to her irritated glare as he sped through the streets of Chinatown.

He repeatedly checked his rearview mirror as he drove north toward Little Italy. They were well on their way when he asked, “What did he give you back there?”

Fed up, Kash grabbed her shoulder of her overcoat, and it was enough to get her attention. She stared at the white-knuckled grip he had on her coat, but still said nothing.

Damn, that didn’t work, he thought. “What did he give you back there?” he asked again.
“Nothing,” she replied through clenched teeth. Her cool façade melted momentarily under molten silver glare. She clinched her jaw and blinked deliberately, giving herself time to garner her composure. “Not a goddamn thing,” she said with finality.

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